San Antonio Spurs: Top 25 players in franchise history

By Rob Wolkenbrod
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 3: (Left to Right) Bruce Bowen
LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 3: (Left to Right) Bruce Bowen /
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BOSTON – 1981: Artis Gilmore
BOSTON – 1981: Artis Gilmore /

15. Artis Gilmore

Artis Gilmore might be one of professional basketball’s best centers that don’t get mentioned anymore. It started with ABA domination from 1971-76, making five All-Star Games and averaging 20 points and 15 rebounds. One season saw him put up 23.8 points and 17.8 rebounds for the defunct Kentucky Colonels.

Upon arrival to the NBA, Gilmore continued his success for the Chicago Bulls. It lasted until 1982, when he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs.

Gilmore was nearing the end of his basketball career when the Spurs acquired him, but received three top-end years from him. Two of the seasons were 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks, including one All-Star Game appearance. It kept him at an elite level, playing on solid Spurs teams that started to decline when George Gervin left.

The second All-Star Game appearance came in 1985-86, when Gilmore averaged 16.7 points and 8.5 rebounds. It was the first noticeable decline of his career, which continued in the succeeding seasons.

By 1986-87, Gilmore was down to just 11 points and at a career-low in rebounds. He left the Spurs afterward and fizzled out the next season.

Even near the back-end of Gilmore’s career, he had terrific seasons with the Spurs. It’s enough to give him a high spot in franchise history.